EUROPE – Eat Just’s plant-based egg alternative Just Egg will soon be stocked in retail stores across Europe following the European Commission’s approval of its key ingredient- mung bean protein.
Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick said in a statement that the decision ‘opens the door’ to distribution of Just Egg across the 27-member bloc.
The authorization comes just over two years after US-headquartered Eat Just, Inc. submitted its application for approval of the protein in March 2020.
The authorization also comes less than six months after the European Food Safety Authority’ judged protein powder extracted from seeds of the mung bean plant to be ‘not nutritionally disadvantageous’ and safe under the proposed conditions and use levels.
In EFSA’s analyses, it noted that mung beans are widely consumed in Asia, and are structurally related to seed storage proteins in other widely consumed legumes, such as soy, lupin, and pea.
For Eat Just, the Commission’s market approval represents a ‘landmark’ moment as Mung bean protein is the first novel legume protein to be deemed safe under the EU’s Novel Food regime.
According to the approval, Eat Just’s use of mung bean protein for plant-based egg products cannot be leveraged by other food companies looking to introduce similar products for a period of five years.
Companies not patient enough will have to similarly obtain authorisation via the same novel food application process.
Eat Just expects to launch its JUST Egg product across markets belonging to the European Union and the European Free Trade Association in the fourth quarter of this year.
“Germany and the Netherlands are key targets for JUST Egg,” explained Andrew Noyes, Head of Global Communications & Public Affairs, Eat Just, Inc.
The UK is also of interest, he revealed but since it’s no longer part of the EU, Eat Just is actively engaging with the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) on a regulatory path to market.
While obtaining approval for its mung bean protein is a ‘monumental step’, it does not mean Europeans should expect to see JUST Egg on supermarket shelves in the coming weeks.
“Our team is working on a couple of remaining regulatory checks as well as packaging design, securing initial sales and distribution partnerships, and other activities as we prepare to bring JUST Egg to our first European countries,” said Noyes.
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